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June 23, 2017

2017 NBA Draft: How the Jimmy Butler trade, Lakers draft and Celtics rumors affect the Sixers

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We have already covered how the Sixers fared at the 2017 NBA Draft, but let’s take a look at some of the major trades and rumors from around the rest of the league and they could affect the Sixers.

Blockbuster Bulls trade

Can a trade be considered a blockbuster if it also appears to be a fleecing right out of the chute? That sure seems to be the big story from draft night, as the Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler and the No. 16 pick for Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and the No. 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen).

Just in case you were wondering, this is not an even trade.

How it affects the Sixers: Sixers fans are already discussing the team’s playoff chances in 2017-18, and this trade clearly puts the Bulls into rebuilding mode. After Butler had been in trade rumors for seemingly a year, it was very surprising that the Bulls weren’t able to get more in return for him. Dunn struggled mightily as an older rookie, LaVine is coming off a torn ACL, and they somehow had to surrender their own pick in the deal too. What a bad trade for someone in Butler who is one of the best 10-20 players in the league and on a great contract.

Poor execution on the trade aside, the Bulls were a team that badly needed some direction; it’s just too bad the Butler trade might not be able to kickstart their rebuilding process. Dwyane Wade is going to keep cashing them checks, too:

As for Butler, he’ll reunite with Tom Thibodeau and average 46 minutes per game. He will form a very intriguing young core in Minnesota along with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. After a rough year in Minnesota (take notice, Sixers fans), the Wolves will have increased expectations in 2017-18.

Celtics and Knicks stand pat

In Celtics news, Boston wasn’t able to land Butler when they certainly had the ammo to do so. After all of the Celtics rumors and speculation, Danny Ainge had a fairly quiet draft night.

And despite all of the speculation involving Kristaps Porzingis and Paul George, both the Celtics and Knicks did nothing out of the ordinary. Boston drafted Duke swingman Jayson Tatum third (that’s who Ainge would’ve drafted over Fultz, Sixers fans) and the Knicks drafted Frank “Frankie Nicotine” Ntilikina eighth overall.

Stephen A. Smith didn’t particularly approve of the Knicks pick, which is good news for Knicks fans. He famously panned the Porzingis pick at the time, and that turned out to be a home run. As it turned out, Phil Jackson basically put Porzingis, his most promising young player by a mile, in trade rumors just for the heck of it:

And while there were plenty of Celtics trade rumors on draft night (there will always be Celtics rumors), Danny Ainge didn’t pull the trigger on any deal outside of gaining an additional asset from the Sixers for the right to draft Markelle Fultz:

How it affects the Sixers: If the Celtics had any interest in Butler, who could’ve theoretically helped them inch closer to Cleveland in the East, I’m very surprised they weren’t able to beat Minnesota’s offer. All due respect to Ainge, the Wolves didn’t give up very much to get a player of Butler’s caliber.

Boston reportedly had discussions with Indiana, but I can’t imagine that Ainge was offering much for what would might be a rental in George. We’ll see if any of those trade discussions can again heat up.

The Celtics will likely head into next season with Tatum as their main addition from the draft, and the big free agent domino is Utah’s Gordon Hayward. Hayward, who played for Brad Stevens at Butler, has been linked to the Celtics in free agency rumors for a while now and he would give them a major addition on the wing.

And by the way, it’s going to be a lot of fun to argue about this Sixers-Celtics trade for the next decade. The Celtics decided to pass on Fultz, and he has the chance to prove them wrong.

The Knicks are still the Knicks and not any sort of threat until they get their you-know-what together, but it’s hard for me to hate on the Ntilikina pick. He has the chance to be a very good player.

Lakers draft

The Lakers stayed put at 2 and drafted Lonzo Ball, who responded to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons:

And then they drafted Villanova’s Josh Hart at No. 30.

How it affects the Sixers: I really like the Lakers draft, but they still figure to be a lottery to high-lottery team next season as long as they are prudent with their cap space:

There is a chance that lottery night next season is very interesting with the 2-5 landing spot that Boston has on that Lakers pick.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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